The purchase of an emergency generator is a smart solution for homes that often find themselves without power. With so many options from which to choose like manual transfer switches and portable generators that can go anywhere you wish, consumers are turning to these potentially life-saving electricity providers more than ever.

But one of the things that gets overlooked is the possible dangers they might pose for those individuals who aren’t well-apprised of the hazards that come with backup generators. While these units are perfectly safe for use in any home, there are some things to keep in mind when operating them.

This is particularly crucial information for first-time owners who have never used a backup generator of any kind before. Even you long-time veterans may find yourselves getting complacent about generator safety and you should take this as a much-needed refresher of the realities that come with improper generator use.

Outdoor Use Only

You might even see these words printed on the side of your generator but in case you don’t, the bottom line is that you cannot use a generator indoors. There are some backup power sources available for indoor use, but if you plan on putting gasoline into your genny to run it, then you are going to be dealing with exhaust.

This is carbon monoxide, it will cause you serious harm in a very short period of time. So use it outside and keep the generator located roughly 20 feet or further away from the house, that way the fumes won’t waft in through an open door or window.

Refuel Properly

Anytime you are using gasoline you need to be cautious about the liquid itself and the unit you are pouring it into. There are certain things you will never do at a gas station when you’re filling up your car, the same goes for filling up your generator.

But there are other considerations you need to think about when you’re refueling the latter. Backup generators can get hot to the touch which is not how you want to pour gasoline into one of them. Allow your unit to get cool to the touch before introducing a flammable liquid into it.

As always, be careful not to spill any gasoline on yourself either while you’re filling up.

Use in Dry Conditions

It’s true most of us rely on a backup generator when it’s pouring rain outside and the lights have been knocked out in a major storm. But while you will be using your genny during a torrential downpour, you must not use it IN a downpour. Leaving it out in the rain could pose serious hazards to you and the generator.

Excessive moisture could knock out the generator and then you’re stuck in the dark. In these situations find a cool, dry place to store the generator while it’s raining. DO NOT bring it inside, leave it under a tarp or awning or some kind of shelter that will protect it from getting soaking wet. You and your generator are much safer that way.